LL Cool J Reveals 'Todd Smith' On New Album
March 21 has been set as the release date for LL Cool J's 12th Def Jam album, "Todd Smith." His first self-titled affair features guest appearances by Mary J. Blige, 112, Ginuwine, Freeway and Juelz SMarch 21 has been set as the release date for LL Cool J's 12th Def Jam album, "Todd Smith." His first self-titled affair features guest appearances by Mary J. Blige, 112, Ginuwine, Freeway and Juelz Santana, with production by Timbaland, Pharrell, Scott Storch and Trackmasters, among others.
A video for Jermaine Dupri-produced lead single "Control Myself," featuring Jennifer Lopez, was recently shot in New York and Atlanta by director Hype Williams. A spring tour is also in the works.
"Todd Smith" -- taken from the rapper's given name, James Todd Smith -- will be the follow-up to 2004's "The Definition," which peaked at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 747,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
LL Cool J discussed the new album during a recent interview for a Billboard Stars special feature that will appear in the March 11 issue of the magazine (on sale March 3).
"All I can really do is what I do and what comes natural, what I love," he said when asked if, as a veteran artist, he consciously tried to appeal to a younger audience. "If you pay attention to that, then hopefully someone should be able to relate to it. Whatever project I'm involved with, I try to make it positive and fun and as cool. I just make it to my taste, in other words, and go from there."
And with more than 20 years of rap seniority under his belt, the artist said the difficulty comes in innovating and reinventing each time around.
"The challenge always becomes trying to do the best work you can, trying to make the best music you can, trying to do something that's really exciting -- and at the same time not repeating yourself," LL said. "So it becomes more and more of a challenge for me. I don't take it for granted. That's why I like to work with a lot of talented people."
Having already tackled film and television, LL is also venturing into fashion with the launch of two new signature collections. He premiered his high-end line Todd Smith and the active wear line TS last week during Olympus Fashion Week in New York.
Here is the "Todd Smith" track list:
"It's LL and Santana," featuring Juelz Santana
"Control Myself," featuring Jennifer Lopez and Jermaine Dupri
"Favorite Flavor," featuring Mary J. Blige
"Freeze," featuring Lyfe Jennings
"Best Dress," featuring Pharrell
"Preserve the Sexy," featuring Teairra Mari
"What You Want," featuring Freeway
"I've Changed," featuring Ryan Toby
"Ooh Wee," featuring Ginuwine
"Down The Aisle," featuring 112
"We're Gonna Make It," featuring Mary Mary
"So Sick" (Ne-Yo Remix featuring LL Cool J)